Friday, January 16, 2009

The case for Manchester City's Kaka move

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan took over Manchester City on transfer deadline day this season and he and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak wasted no time in making an impact.

The club landed disgruntled Robinho for 32.5 million pounds from Rea Madrid, swooping in at the last minute to take him away from Chelsea. Robinho, who was looking for a wage increase from Real Madrid, was the perfect target for Man City.

Of course, he's an excellent forward, with all the flair and skill you'd expect from a Brizilian. But more so, he wanted the one thing that City had to offer - cash.

With his wages now increased, Robinho settled in and has had a very good year for City, leading the club in goals. However, as shown by City's mid-table or worse performance over the past few years, the rest of the club is not up to the task of finishing in the top seven, let alone the top four.

Remember, this was a club that has been relegated in this decade, and despite a strong academy and great fan support, has never been close to top four status since.

The club, including manager Mark Hughes, knows that Robinho alone is not enough. But how could City get lucky again, and find other players unhappy at their big clubs just willing to take the cash? And even if they did find them, would that be the kind of group you'd want to have?

Man City seems to have a grasp on the idea that's not the way to go. But to get more good players in - and maybe more importantly to keep Robinho around - it's going to take an absolute statement signing.

That's where Kaka comes in to play. Although Brazilian like Robinho, he is not thought to have the same attitude. He claims to want to be a priest when he retires. He loves AC Milan, his current club, respects its status as perhaps the greatest club of all time. He wants to play in the Champions League. He wants trophies.

If that kind of player is at Man City, then every other player in the world know that the Citizens are serious. From that point on, it won't take 175 million pounds to sign every player. It will take serious money, no doubt, but at this moment nobody believes Man City as a serious threat - on the field - to become an elie team.

But if the club can hold up Robinho - who will no doubt stay - and Kaka to the rest of the world and say, "join us," they will become that elite team.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is paying nine figures not for Kaka, but for respect.


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